Business E-readers Turning the page
商业 电纸书 微软和B&N相逢一笑泯恩仇
Microsoft and Barnes & Noble write their own love story
微软和Barnes & Noble共写爱情故事。
LAST July Barnes & Noble gave a presentation to the antitrust division of America's Department of Justice. In slide after slide, the bookseller laid into Microsoft. The software giant, it thundered, was guilty of "anti-competitive behaviour" in demanding royalties from makers of mobile devices (such as the Nook, Barnes & Noble's e-reader) that used Android, Google's open-source mobile operating system. The bookseller sniffed that Microsoft owned only "trivial" patents and reminded the department of the software company's past trespasses against competition.
去年七月Barnes & Noble向美国司法部反托拉斯部门做了一个演示。Barnes & Noble的每张幻灯片都在攻击微软。它怒斥微软这家软件巨头违法，因为微软向生产使用安卓(谷歌的手机开源操作系统)移动设备的厂商收取专利使用费是"反竞争行为"（例如Barnes & Noble的电子书阅读器Nook）。Barnes & Noble讥讽微软只拥有一些不重要的专利并向提醒司法部微软以往的反竞争行为。
Nine months later, the bookworms and the geeks are the best of friends. On April 30th Barnes & Noble said it was creating a subsidiary, called NewCo for now, into which it would put Nook and its "college" business, which has 641 bookshops on American campuses. Microsoft is putting up $300m for 17.6% of NewCo. People will be able to buy and read e-books through a Nook application for Windows 8, a new incarnation of Microsoft's operating system that is due to appear in a few months. Microsoft will pay NewCo an advance of $180m over three years for such purchases, plus $125m over five years to buy content and develop technology. The squabbles over patents have been settled: Microsoft is giving Barnes & Noble a licence for the Nook and will get royalties in return. For now at least, the Nook will remain an Android, not Windows, device.
九个月后，书虫和极客成为了最好的朋友。4月30日，Barnes & Noble宣布成立名为NewCo的分支公司，该公司主营Nook和在美国校园拥有641家书店的"高校"业务部。微软注资3亿美元，拥有17.6的股份。人们将能通过WIN8版Nook应用购买和阅读电子书。WIN8是微软的新版操作系统，将在数月后问世。微软将会提前支付1.8亿美元的三年使用费，并支付额外的1.25亿美元用于之后五年的内容购买和技术开发。专利之争已经平息：微软给予Barnes & Noble的Nook许可证并获得专利使用费。最起码就目前而言，Nook将仍然是安卓阵营成员而非windows成员。
The agreement values NewCo at $1.7 billion, more than twice Barnes & Noble's market capitalisation before it was announced. The bookseller's share price rose by 50% on the day of the deal—which tells you what investors think of the dead-tree end of the trade. The alliance should bring Barnes & Noble not only cash but also new readers of digital books and magazines, especially outside the United States. In the fourth quarter of 2011, according to Tom Mainelli of IDC, a research firm, Barnes & Noble accounted for one-fifth of the 7m e-readers shipped in America—against a mighty three-quarters for Amazon, maker of the Kindle (see chart). But Barnes & Noble shipped no Nooks elsewhere, which helps explain why it had only 14% of the global market. Via the Nook app, non-Americans will also be able to leaf through Barnes & Noble's digital catalogue.
协议中将NewCo估价为17亿美元，超过协议公布前Barnes & Noble市值的两倍。协议达成当天Barnes & Noble股价上涨50%，这表明投资者对这个实体书过时行业的看法。两公司联合不仅仅给Barnes & Noble带来资金还要带来新的电子书刊读者，尤其是美国外的读者。调查机构IDC的Tom Mainelli表示，2011年第四季度美国市场新推出的七百万的电子书阅读器中，Barnes & Noble占有五分之一，而Kindle的生产商亚马逊囊括了四分之三（见图）。但是Barnes & Noble只在美国销售Nook，这也解释了为什么它只拥有14%全球市场。通过Nook应用，其他国家的居民也可以浏览Barnes & Noble的电子产品目录。
Microsoft is in effect buying a second bash at a market where it made an early but unsuccessful start. It launched its own e-reader software all of 12 years ago. The deal with Barnes & Noble, bringing lots of content with it, may give people an extra reason to buy Windows 8 tablets (a likelier choice for e-reading than smartphones, laptops or desktops) when they appear.
实际上这是微软在早期打入电纸书市场失败后的第二次尝试。12年前，微软就曾发布过自己的电纸书软件。这次与 Barnes & Noble的协议又加入了诸多内容，这使得上市后购买WIN 8平板电脑的人们多了一个理由（就电子阅读来说平板电脑是比智能手机，笔记本或台式机更好的选择）。
The bundling of Barnes & Noble's college business into NewCo indicates a hope that a fair few of these customers will be students. Allen Weiner of Gartner , another research firm, suggests that through campus bookshops Barnes & Noble could sell Windows devices pre-loaded with course material. Of course, others are after students' dollars too. Apple recently started selling interactive digital textbooks for the iPad, far and away the biggest-selling tablet (among its publishing partners is Pearson, part-owner of The Economist). But Mr Weiner points out that Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have some advantages. Lots of students write notes and essays with Microsoft's Office software, which is not available on the iPad. And although Amazon sells and rents a lot of paper textbooks, it has not done much with digital ones.
Barnes & Noble的大量高校业务融入NewCo，这意味着多数客户有望是学生。调查机构高德纳公司的Allen Weiner暗示通过校园书店，Barnes & Noble可以销售预先装有课程材料的Windous设备。当然其他公司也对大学生市场虎视眈眈。苹果公司最近开始为其卖得最好的平板电脑ipad销售互动电子书（合作出版社之一是Pearson，也是经济学人的股东之一）。但是Weiner指出微软和Barnes & Noble有优势，许多学生使用微软的office软件做笔记，写文章，而ipad上却没有这一软件。而且尽管亚马逊销售出租大量纸质教材，却并没有过多涉及电子版教材。
The tie-up with Barnes & Noble makes three of a kind for Microsoft: cheap deals with struggling but established partners in markets where it is weak and sees a chance to do much better. In 2009 it struck an agreement with Yahoo! in online search. Last year Nokia became the prime conduit for Windows in smartphones. With Barnes & Noble it is having another stab at e-reading. Unlike the books on the Nook, this tale is still being written.
与Barnes & Noble公司的合作关系是微软完成了第三项同类合作：在表现不佳有大量上升空间市场里以廉价的合同和经营不佳但在业内已树起口碑的公司签约合作。2009年，微软与雅虎就网上搜索达成协议。去年，诺基亚成为windows智能手机的最佳渠道。而与Barnes & Noble合作，则可以打入电子阅读市场。不像Nook上的电子书那样，这个故事依旧在继续。